Over the past half-century, fatherhood in Canada has evolved dramatically as men across the country adapt and react to social, economic, cultural and environmental contexts. Throughout this period, men have had diverse employment experiences as they manage their multiple roles inside and outside the family home. These experiences have been impacted by a variety of factors, including (but not limited to) cultural norms and expectations, family status, disability and a variety of demographic characteristics, as well as women’s increased involvement in the paid labour force.
While many fathers in previous generations acted exclusively as “traditional” breadwinning father figures, modern fathers are increasingly likely to embrace caring roles and assume more household management responsibilities. In doing so, dads across Canada are renegotiating and reshaping the relationship between fatherhood and work.
- Men are less likely than in previous generations to fulfill a breadwinner role exclusively. In 2014, 79% of single-earner couple families with children included a breadwinning father, down from 96% in 1976.
- Men account for a growing share of part-time workers. One-quarter (25%) of Canadians aged 25 to 54 who worked part-time in 2016 were men, up from 15% in 1986.
- The proportion of never-married men is on the rise. In 2011, more than half (54%) of men in Canada aged 30 to 34 report never having been married, up from 15% in 1981.
- Canada is home to many caregiving men. In 2012, nearly half (46%) of all caregivers in Canada were men, 11% of whom provided 20 or more hours per week of care.
- Many men want to be stay-at-home parents. Nearly four in 10 (39%) surveyed men say they would prefer to be a stay-at-home parent.
- Many men engage in household work and related activities. Nearly half (45%) of surveyed fathers in North America say they’re the “primary grocery shopper” in their household.
- Flex at work can facilitate work–life balance. More than eight in 10 (81%) full-time working fathers who have a flexible schedule say they’re satisfied with their work–life balance, compared with 76% for those without flex.
This bilingual resource will be updated periodically as new data emerges. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to find out about updates, as well as other news about publications, projects and initiatives from the Vanier Institute.